The California Coastal Commission today rejected a dangerous plan by the U.S. Navy for sonar and explosives training that threatened marine animals in Southern California, including endangered blue whales. The war training exercises would have killed 130 marine mammals and caused hearing loss in about 1,600 animals, according to Navy estimates.
“These war games have real and deadly effects on California’s wildlife, including some already trying to fight off extinction,” said Emily Jeffers with the Center for Biological Diversity, which opposed the Navy’s plan. “We’re happy the commission saw this dangerous proposal for what it is and is taking the right steps to protect our state’s wildlife.”
Elsewhere, the Navy’s mid-frequency sonar has been implicated in mass strandings of marine mammals. In 2000, 14 beaked whales and several other marine mammals stranded themselves in the Bahamas in response to U.S. Navy vessels operating offshore mid-frequency sonar. Necropsies revealed bleeding around the animals’ ears and brains. The entire Cuvier’s beaked whale population disappeared from the area after the incident. In 2003, 14 harbor porpoises were stranded during Navy sonar training in Puget Sound. In 2004, hundreds of melon-headed whales were driven into Hanalei Bay, Hawaii by Navy exercises.
“America’s sea life has already paid too steep a price for these military exercises. Some are killed by explosives, others lose their hearing and die after the fact,” Jeffers said. “Places where whales and other endangered species are congregating should be off-limits to these kinds of deadly actions.”
Earlier this year, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed to allow the Navy to harm marine mammals up to 9.5 million times in the Hawaii and Southern California Training Ranges and 21.8 million times in the Atlantic Training Range over a period of five years. This will surely result in thousands of cases of permanent hearing loss, lung injuries and death. Ocean noise is also known to harm fish; there have been reports of reduced abundance in areas with noise disturbance. The Fisheries Service is accepting comments on that proposal until March 11.
Source: Center for Biological Diversity
A woman says she owes her life to a pod of dolphins after slipping off a cliff and into the sea while trying to rescue her dog.
She says she thought she was going to die before the dolphins nudged her and her dog to safety.
Karyn Gitsham walks her dogs Buddy and Ramsay along the beach at Carrickalinga, on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, every morning.
Four-year-old Cocker Spaniel Ramsay often runs into the water chasing seagulls, but this morning he got into trouble when he couldn’t swim back.
Ms Gitsham says she climbed up the cliff face to follow the distressed pooch from the shore when the unthinkable happened.
“I just remember falling and I’m in the water and the waves were just pounding me up against the rocks and I could see him out there trying to get back in,” Ms Gitsham told 7News.
It was then that her unlikely saviours came to the rescue.
“I remember going under and coming back up I saw a fin, and I saw him, and thought ‘oh great, it’s a shark’,” she said.
“And then I saw another fin then I realised they were dolphins.
“These dolphins just formed this horseshoe and were guiding him in, pushing him in.”
Letting go to grab Ramsay, Ms Gitsham says the dolphins nudged the pair to safety.
“The dolphins came around me and pushed me into a massive, big boulder,” she said.
The retired police officer says her rescue is nothing short of a miracle.
But she won’t be tempting fate again, and will be keeping Buddy and Ramsey on the leash when they go on their morning strolls from now on.
Source: Yahoo7 News
Mark Caney, author of Dolphin Way, has been featured in Avi Bernstein’s “Series of Underwater Photographers“.
This biographic detail accompanied the image:
A diver since 1976, Mark Caney began diving in the UK. By the time he had made his first ten dives he was taking a camera underwater and underwater photography has been a passion ever since.
He ran a dive centre in Cyprus from 1980 to 1990 after leaving the British military and there had a chance to refine his technique as he was spending so much time underwater.
From Cyprus he traveled extensively, conducting PADI instructor level and technical diving programs internationally; he also led an award winning expedition lasting four months to explore previously undived parts of the African coast. Whenever there was a chance, he would be carrying his housed Nikon system.
As well as being widely published as an underwater photographer, Mark is a writer, and his work has featured extensively in magazines and other media. He has also contributed to many of the publications produced by PADI since he began working in his present position of Vice President, Training and Customer Services at PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa. In 2011 he had his first novel published, Dolphin Way: Rise of the Guardians, a unique book in that it is set entirely in the world of the dolphins.
His strong technical diving background led him to be deeply involved in development of all of the PADI technical diving courses from EANx through to CCR and he is a member of the PADI TecRec test dive team. He continues to play a key role in shaping the direction of technical diver training, calling on his wealth of experience of international practices and expedition diving to ensure TecRec courses match the needs of technical divers whether they are diving in the tropics or above the Arctic Circle. He is Vice President of PADI’s Technical Diving Division.
Mark has twice been the President of the European Underwater Federation (EUF), for a total of five years. He has been heavily involved in the establishment of European and ISO standards for diving and he continues to represent the UK as one of its two Designated Experts for international standards negotiation and design. In addition to diving and photography, Mark is a keen sailor and a sailing instructor and has often managed to combine the three activities.
Experts are trying to work out why nearly 100 dead animals and birds have washed up on a Peruvian coastline.
The bodies of 18 sea turtles, 22 sea lions, eight dolphins, 16 angular roughsharks and 22 marine birds were found during an inspection by government officials.
Some of the creatures were sprayed with a special paint as part of an investigation into the grim discovery along 77 miles of the Lambayeque coastline.
The carcasses, were in various states of decomposition, were measured, placed in bags and then taken away for analysis.
Jaime De La Cruz, an engineer with Peru’s Ocean Institute, said a report detailing their cause of death was expected in the coming weeks.
In the past couple of years, a worrying number of dead sea creatures have been ending up on Peru’s shores.
While officials have yet to conclusively pinpoint a cause, some of the possible explanations include viruses, offshore oil exploration, or poisoned food sources.
Source: Sky News
The highly intelligent and sociable creatures are known to use their own signature whistle to introduce themselves to others.
Now experts have shown that a calf separated from its mother mimics her short, sharp whistle in what is thought to be a way of trying to trigger a reunion. A male will use the same method to try to find its best friend of the same sex.
Researchers at St Andrews University analysed recordings of bottlenose dolphins from Florida which were periodically caught for health checks. During these checks the animals could normally hear, but not see, each other.
Information on captive dolphins at Walt Disney World, also in Florida, was factored in. The data showed that when two close male friends were separated, one would often mimic the whistle of the other.
Source: Daily Mail
A discussion in Jakarta on Wednesday featuring the star of an Academy Award-winning documentary on dolphins was marred by a mob questioning the legality of the gathering and threatening to break it up.
The discussion, hosted by the US Embassy at the @america cultural center in the Pacific Place mall, was held to address the controversy of traveling circuses in Indonesia that have dolphin shows.
Richard O’Barry, the renowned US dolphin activist and star of the 2009 documentary “The Cove,” attended the event wearing a bulletproof vest, amid concerns about threats as a result of his activism in the Indonesian circus controversy.
Outside the venue, visitors were heckled by a mob of men dressed in black uniforms, who claimed that the organizers did not have a permit to hold the discussion. The mob, calling itself the Indonesian Alliance, also disrupted the discussion and claimed to represent one of the circuses.
“All we got was intimidation and harassment from these circuses,” O’Barry said, as quoted by Tribunnews.com.
“Some of them are outside this room right now! They threatened JAAN [Jakarta Animal Aid Network] members.”
Femke den Haas, an activist from the JAAN, added, “We just want to protect dolphins but we have to wear bulletproof vests? That’s ridiculous!”
The discussion itself was opened by Zulkifli Hasan, the forestry minister, who insisted that no traveling circus in Indonesia was permitted to transport live dolphins. He called on activist groups like the JAAN to help officials deal with the problem. O’Barry said that was what he and the JAAN had been doing since last year.
The minister also deflected a question from an audience member who said he had seen a dolphin performance at a circus in Bantul, Yogyakarta, and been told by the circus officials that they had obtained their permit from the Forestry Ministry.
“You just tell me where this circus is, and if needs be, I’ll go there myself and break it up,” Zulkifli responded.
He left the event shortly after, citing another engagement.
The controversy erupted last July after the JAAN launched a petition to urge companies that provided transportation service or venues for the circuses to end their support, in light of the dire conditions in which the dolphins were kept.
The online petition, at change.org/stopsirkuslumba, has garnered more than 90,000 signatures to date.
Source: Jakarta Globe
Over the last two days at least eight common dolphinsDelphinus delphis have been found dead on the beaches of Achill Island, Co. Mayo. Unconfirmed reports suggest that there is another dead dolphin on a nearby island and another may have been buried on the beach.
IWDG don’t have full details to hand as yet but photos sent to us by local people show most of the dolphins died very recently although there are no reports of any live strandings there over the last few days. So far, dead common dolphins are confirmed at Keel Beach, Keem Beach and Dookinella. While there are occasionally live strandings involving groups of dolphins, it is very unusual in this country to see this number of dead dolphins washed ashore over a 10km area. Updates will be added here as and when we have further information.
As many as 900 dolphins have been slaughtered by villagers in the Solomon Islands, allegedly due to a dispute with the conservation group Earth Island Institute.
Accounts from the Islanders suggest the villagers were expecting payment from the conservation group to stop their traditional hunt. The check never arrived, resulting in a hunt more fervid than usual. The Earth Island Institute alleges the slaughter was the work of a “renegade group,” according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian.
According to Radio Australia, villagers from Fanalei, on the island of Malaita, had been in negotiations with the California-based conservation group for two years. They accused the Earth Island Institute of failing to pay the agreed upon $400,000 to halt their traditional hunt. Villagers claim they received only one third of the promised payment before funds dried up.
As a result, the disillusioned villagers went back to hunting, according to Fanalei community leader Atkin Fakaia.
The Solomon Islands are well known as a hot bed for dolphin hunting. The Islands supply wildlife to aquariums in China and Dubai, where a live dolphin can go for upwards of $150,000. Earth Island Institute hoped to preserve the dolphin population by offering restitution for not hunting.
“We are very, very disappointed,” David Phillips, who oversees international dolphin protection efforts for the conservation group, told The Guardian. “This is a tragedy. It’s bad for dolphins. It’s bad for the community. It’s bad for the Solomon Islands as a nation to have this blot on the record.”
Source: CBS News
This is the first time that a group of dolphins has been recorded trying to help or save another dying dolphin.
Korean-based scientists witnessed the event in the East Sea off the coast of Ulsan, in South Korea.
Five individual dolphins formed a raft with their bodies in an attempt to keep the stricken dolphin afloat.
Details of the behaviour are reported in the journal Marine Mammal Science.
Healthy cetaceans, the group of animals that includes whales and dolphins, have been seen attempting to provide supportive care to individuals before.
For example, in the mid-20th Century, a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in captivity was seen lifting her stillborn calf to the surface with her back.
Wild bottlenose dolphins have also been seen supporting dead or stillborn calves near the surface, while some have been recorded stimulating their babies by biting them.
But all previous examples involved just one or two adult dolphins trying to rescue a calf.
Now Kyum J Park of the Cetacean Research Institute in Ulsan, Korea, and colleagues report an incident when up to 10 long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis) tried to save the life of another adult.
The researchers routinely monitor cetaceans off the South Korean coast.
During one survey, they encountered a group of long-beaked common dolphins containing more that 400 individuals being followed by approximately 500 streaked shearwaters.
Both dolphins and birds were foraging, and the research vessel approached and observed the pod several times.
A small group of dolphins had separated from the pod and were splashing near to the boat.
Closer observation revealed at least 12 individuals swimming very slowly.
Among them, one dolphin was wriggling about, its body leaning over, with its abdomen showing to the surface.
Though it could move and splash its tail, its flippers appeared to be paralysed and it had red marks on its belly.
A number of dolphins circled this group, while those within appeared to be trying to help the stricken dolphin maintain its balance, by pushing it from the side and below.
Then the 10 remaining dolphins took turns to form a raft using their bodies.
Five dolphins at a time lined up horizontally into a raft-like formation, maintaining it while the stricken dolphin moved on top and rode on their backs.
One of the dolphins in the raft even flipped over its body to better support the ailing dolphin above, while another used its beak to try to keep the dying dolphin’s head up.
A few minutes later the stricken dolphin appeared to die, its body hanging vertically in the water, with its head above the surface. It wasn’t breathing.
Five of its associates continued to interact with the dead dolphin’s body, rubbing and touching it, or swimming underneath, releasing bubbles onto it.
They carried on this way despite the dead dolphin’s body showing signs of rigor mortis, say the researchers.
Source: BBC Nature by Matt Walker